A town of 100,000 inhabitants standing on the Mediterranean coast, known as White Coast. Its name literally means ‘sheltered harbour’ and was once haunt of smugglers. It is popular holiday destination for Libyans and city dwellers from Alexandria with some hotels along the sea front where local customs and etiquette are observed. Developments along the Mediterranean coast include a number of tourist villages and hotels mainly for local market. 30 mins W is Almaza Beach, a development of modern hotels designed and featured by European tour operators.
The town itself is rather untidy but retains a traditional Egyptian ambience with welcoming townsfolk and colourful street markets. Attractions include the ruins of Ramses II Temple and natural rock formation known as Cleopatra’s Bath. During Second World, the German Afrika Korps was centred here and Rommel’s Hideout is now museum. This is resort of character away from main tourism hubs with good quality tourist developments.
Famed for its marble white sands. The beaches are general flat and wide with some dunes. Gradually sloping into azure Mediterranean waters. In towns and villages, local etiquette is observed; ladies should be covered even when swimming and alcohol is not available.
The tourist resorts, particularly Almaza Beach, are relaxed, well furnished with sunloungers and parasols and western bathing costumes perfect acceptable and the norm.
At tourist resorts, shopping limited to hotel boutiques and souvenirs. In town, a thriving market offers everything from fruit and vegetables to clothes and traditional ornaments including papyrus and alabaster goods but with emphasis on day-to-day use rather than usual decorated souvenirs. In this part of Egypt, little pressure to look and/or buy. Because of remoteness of resorts, no hawkers on beach.
Properties in Almaza Beach based on all-inclusive. There are no restaurants in the immediate vicinity.
Note: throughout Egypt the term ‘Oriental’ refers to ‘Egyptian’ or ‘Middle Eastern’ which should be considered when property advertises Oriental Restaurant.
In town there limited number of properties up to 3-star category and popular with local and Libyan market. Some offer rooms with air-conditioning, most have dry bars.
At Almaza Beach, properties are of 5-star standard with full facilities all having been built since 2005 on beachfront. Some close off-season (Nov-Mar).
Trips in to the town to visit Ramses II Temple, Rommel’s Hideaway and the seafront. For markets and general visit, easy to organise car and driver. Bedouin Village to experience way of life.
The War Museum and Commonwealth Graves at El-Alamein, the site of major World War II conflict located 180km e. of Almaza Beach. Ancient city of Alexandria with Quaiby Fort and Library often combined with El-Alamein. Overnight: Cairo for the Pyramids. Siwa Oasis.
The town itself suitable base for overnight stops enroute to Siwa Oasis but more popular for longer stays with the local and Libyan market.
Almaza Beach is a resort area specifically designed for beach holidays and has facilities suitable both for adult parties and family groups. A suitable base from which to take day trips along the coast.
At Almaza Beah focus during day is on expansive swimming pool facilities at each property and the wide sandy beach. Watersports available in season (Apr-Oct). Diving World War II wrecks from town. Spa facilites at some properties. Day excursions to town and further away.
At Almaza Beach properties occasional evening entertainment. No bars or clubs in the immediate vicinity. Town has some bars and restaurants but not a main attraction.
Within town, taxis are readily available (fix fare before setting off) although most sights can be easily walked. Minibuses ply between the towns and villages of the coast but agree destination before boarding. Express Coach service operates to Alexandria as well as irregular, third class train service. Town is linked to Cairo by bus, train and air although not frequent.
Location: In N of country 200km E of Libyan border, 250km W of Alexandria, 300 km N of Siwa Oasis, 420 km NW of Cairo. Almaza Beach 38km. Airport 10 km from centre.
Position: On the Mediterranean Coast
Dialling Code: 046
Tourist Board: www.gotoegypt.org